S. Tel Aviv residents ask High Court to block potential return of released migrants

Detention center director: There needs to be an end to the anarchy reigning over south Tel Aviv.

October 30, 2013 19:02
1 minute read.
Eritrean migrants protest Negev detention facility

Eritrean migrants protest Negev detention center150. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Approximately 100 residents of south Tel Aviv and the Center for Israeli Migrant Policy filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Wednesday to block the return of around 2,000 African migrants to their neighborhood from the Saharonim detention facility in the South.

In mid-September, the High Court struck down the government’s policy of keeping them in detention for up to three years before deciding their status for remaining in the country.

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The court ordered that all migrants either have their statuses decided upon within three months or be released.

More recently, the government announced it had released roughly a dozen migrants and that it might consider keeping many of the others in a modified “open” detention facility for a period of one-and-a-half years.

But on Wednesday, a spokesman for the petitioners said that the number of released migrants had reached 100 and could jump exponentially between now and mid-December.

Trying to prevent a scenario in which a large number or all of the migrants would be sent back to south Tel Aviv – as the government had been doing before sending them to the detention center – the petitioners hope that the court will either block the migrants’ release or at least have them sent to other parts of the country.

The petitioners saw strong sympathetic statements regarding their suffering by Supreme Court Justices Edna Arbel and Uzi Vogelman as a sign of hope that the court would heed their petition.

Orli Yogir, director of the Center for Israeli Migrant Policy, said that “there needs to be an end to the anarchy reigning over south Tel Aviv.

It can’t be that the result of the High Court decision, which recognized the suffering of the south Tel Aviv residents, will be to cause additional grave harm” to them.

The High Court ordered the state to respond within two weeks.

The petition comes only days after a petition was submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to compel the state to release the majority of the migrants, complaining that so few had been released to date and that the state is trying to find ways to keep them in detention, even if it might be a modified “open” detention center.

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